Fitness and Performance

Questions from Womens Running

Nov 9 2015

For a feature running in the December 2015 issue of Women’s Running Magazine Kiri Norton, Sports Therapist, was asked a serious of questions about running. See her full interview below and don’t forget to check out the full feature in Women’s Running Magazine, which has some great advice from a range of professionals.
Q. For someone who is a recreational runner and runs to get fit, boost health, etc, what should a typical training week look like?

A. This depends on the current fitness of the runner but generally, a training programme should have regular rest days i.e. one day run, one day rest to allow time for recovery so typically running 3 or 4 times per week. In order to get fitter, the intensity (speed) and duration (time) of the run should gradually increase to meet your physiological adaptations.

Q.What should they avoid doing too much of?

A. Try not to run the same routes. Vary your training program from long distance, short distance, interval, hill runs and steady runs. Also, vary your routes as different scenery and terrain can have great effects on your training.

Q. What should they do more of?

A. Runners should take more time to stretch after runs as this can help keep the muscles flexible and reduce the risk of injury. Foam rolling can also be beneficial to release those tight muscles.

Q. How often should most average runners run in a typical week? Is there a limit in terms of a) total volume b) frequency and c) amount of high-intensity sessions?
  • The average runner runs around 3-4 times a week in order to gain physiological changes.
  • Runners who are very competitive may do more runs a week than this but it is beneficial to replace one of their running sessions with a cross-trainer session as this still works the muscles and the aerobic system but without the pounding.
  • Long/high intensity runs should not be done every training session. Typically you may have one long run during the week and then the rest of the week you may have an interval run, hill run and a steady run.
Q. Lots of runners I speak to do the same type of runs week in, week out, e.g. same distance/speed on each run. Why is this ineffective and why does it carry injury risk?
  • Running the same routes can become boring therefore you are more likely to give up training all together.
  • You will have less training adaptations compared to programs that vary from steady runs to interval training, hill runs, short runs and long runs as your body becomes used to the training.
  • This can lead to overuse injuries as you are training the same muscles in the same way repetitively. you can also become too complacent with the routes you are doing which can often cause injury through silly mistakes like tripping over as you no longer think about what you are doing (it becomes second nature)
Q. What are your top three tips for regular runners who want to stay injury-free?
  • STRETCH: This will relieve any tightness from your previous runs and also prepare your muscles for the runs ahead. The most common running injuries are usually caused by muscle tightness. I.e. runners knee, this is when the ITB becomes tight and the tendon rubs against the surround structures which results in inflammation. Getting a sports massage is also a great way to get those muscles prepared and knot-free.
  • REST: Having enough recover time for your muscles to repair themselves is vital! Overuse of the muscles combined with the repetitive pounding on the floor can cause all sorts of injuries, from small niggles to complete ruptures of tendons! Pushing yourself too hard by increasing the length or speed of your run too quickly can put tremendous strains on your body. If you get a niggle, the worst thing to do is run through it as this can make the small niggle turn into a long term condition.
  • WEAR THE CORRECT FOOTWEAR: wearing trainers with the correct arch support and shock absorbency can not only prevent injury but also improve your running technique and times.